THE BOB'S BURGERS MOVIE - Review - We Are Movie Geeks



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(L-R): Linda Belcher (voiced by John Roberts), Bob Belcher (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin), Tina Belcher (voiced by Dan Mintz), Louise Belcher (voiced by Kristen Schaal), and Gene Belcher (voiced by Eugene Mirman) in 20th Century Studios’ THE BOB’S BURGERS MOVIE. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

With Memorial Day looming, many moviegoers may not “feel the need, the need for speed” (though most will, I’d bet), Perhaps instead, they’ve got a “hunger, a hunger for…”well, I got nuthin”. Wait a minute, a nice grilled hamburger usually will stifle those cravings. Although, will they want to sink their teeth into an animated one? Much as the studios did with “The Simpsons”, “South Park”, and “Beavis and Butthead”, they’re raiding the tube for a brand new animated feature film. Now, this cartoon hasn’t been around nearly as long as the first one mentioned, but it’s been a staple of the Fox Network’s “Sunday Night Animation Domination” for the last eleven years. And now we’ll see if its many fans have a big box-office appetite for THE BOB’S BURGERS MOVIE. Order up…

Oddly, the story doesn’t really begin with the beloved Belcher family at the diner. Instead, we’re flashing back six years to a “dark and stormy” night at the scene of a crime, the boardwalk at the “Wonder Wharf” amusement park overlooking the ocean. Then we spring ahead to now (actually close to the upcoming three-day holiday). A lot is happening in and above the diner down the street from the big “WW” (you see there’s a family apartment space upstairs from the grill). The Bob behind Bob’s Burgers (voice of H. Jon Benjamin) is furiously whipping up a special breakfast burger to impress the loan officer at the nearby bank. He and his wife Linda (John Roberts) want to get an extension on the place’s business loan. Meanwhile, their three kids are hyped about their upcoming summer break from school. Tina (Dan Mintz) wants to start a summer romance with that special guy, Genne (Eugine Merman) wants to perform with his band on the Wharf’s outdoor stage, and Louise (Kristen Schaal) wants to impress the “mean girls’ with her maturity (“I’m no baby!”). The banker isn’t awed with Bob’s masterpiece meal, and tells him that the loan will “come due” within the next week. Bob is worried, but Linda reminds him of the big crowds streaming into Wonder Wharf over the weekend. Great, except…a water main breaks in front of their diner, leaving a huge sinkhole at its entrance. Oh, and the big hole reveals the result of that six-year-old crime. The kids decide to solve that crime, while the adults try to put their diner on wheels to get some of the Wharf’s crowds. Will their combined efforts somehow save the family business, or has Bob flipped his last meat patty?

And now dear reader, a confession (you can just the ‘size’ of it): I have never watched an episode of the “Bob’s Burgers” TV show. Zip. Nada. Not a one. Yes, I’ve watched “The Simpsons” since they were leading viewers out of and into commercial breaks on “The Tracy Ulman Show”. And I was a faithful fan of the much-missed “King of the Hill” and “Futurama”. But this Fox show just didn’t grab my interest. Perhaps it’s because of my problems with the character designs. I quickly got used to the “bug-eyed” (as Jennifer Tilly called them) creatures that populated Springfield, USA. The Belchers and their pals might be best described as “fish-eyed” with tiny orbs stuck on the sides of their cantaloupe-shaped heads. Although, I have great respect for many of the voice actors, H. Jon Benjamin mainly for the bungling lead of “Archer” on FX. And on a side note, I was puzzled as to the reason Kevin Kline lent his voice to the stuffy landlord of the Belchers. But I’ve digressed from a big point mentioned earlier. I don’t think a moviegoer should have to do “homework” prior to seeing a new film based on another “media source”. You shouldn’t need to read the novels or comics, see the stage play, or even see the previous film in a franchise to enjoy a new film. I adored the “South Park” feature without having seen a whole episode. And I was mildly entertained by the films based on “Downton Abbey” and “The X-Files”. I can’t say the same for this, as it is strictly for fans. I couldn’t get into the rapid-fire rhythm of the dialogue, plus the many female characters voiced by men were distracting. The animation “acting” was serviceable, as were the backgrounds’, but a CG-boosted last act chase seemed monotonous and a weak attempt to inject some movie-style action into a very ‘talky” tale. There are two or three musical numbers, but the tunes don’t resonate and the “in-unison” dance moves would’ve helped a stage version close quickly (I’m sure someone is planning a big splashy Broadway version). So, if you love the show, you’ll no doubt be floating above your seat, and I’m happy that your devotion is being rewarded. The rest of us will be tempted to check the time (don’t do it, ugh) as we wonder what the fuss is all about. So like most eateries, THE BOB’S BURGERS MOVIE is not for everyone’s tastes (my t-buds weren’t ready for it’s…seasonings). Check, please!

1.5 Out of 4

THE BOB’S BURGERS MOVIE is now playing in theatres everywhere

Jim Batts was a contestant on the movie edition of TV's "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" in 2009 and has been a member of the St. Louis Film Critics organization since 2013.

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